Mike Smyth: Meet the new Christy Clark, back in campaign mode
[Christy Clark, born-again progressive and woman of the People! Desperate, two-faced, shameless, despicable, predictable, crafty, and a direct insult to the intelligence of both progressive and conservative voters. See also: Desperate Liberals change tune on welfare and campaign donations; and Christy Clark to focus on social reforms in B.C. throne speech. *RON*]
|Premier Christy Clark’s Liberals are set to deliver a throne speech this Thursday that changes the party’s tune on welfare rates, disability assistance and even corporate donations to political parties. CHAD HIPOLITO / CP|
Christy Clark’s Liberals are set to deliver a throne speech this Thursday that changes the party’s miserly tune on welfare rates, disability assistance and even corporate donations to political parties.
The suddenly big-hearted Liberals say they’re ready to increase welfare rates by $100 a month after freezing them for a decade.
What an amazing conversion for Clark, who just a few weeks ago said getting a job was better than pocketing pogey.
“A little bit more every month on social assistance doesn’t really make it that much easier,” Clark said, adding she prefers to “get people off the treadmill” of welfare instead.
The Liberals also said they’ll index disability assistance to the inflation rate — an incredible concession from a government that cruelly clawed back disabled people’s bus passes last year, refusing to budge even when poor people in wheelchairs protested at the legislature.
And could this really be the same government that says it will now ban corporate and union donations to political parties, after unapologetically raking in millions from corporations and lobbyists for years?
“We are not about to change a thing,” cabinet minister Rich Coleman huffed just three months ago, insisting nobody in the public cared about B.C.’s unlimited political porkapalooza.
Who knows how many more reversals and climbdowns we’ll see by Thursday? With the Liberals in full retreat, we could see the most flop-flops this side of a Waikiki beach shop.
Why is the hard-headed Clark suddenly morphing into a soft-hearted mushball? Because her governing Liberals are about to be kicked out of power, that’s why.
The Liberals know their last election campaign was an uninspiring stinker. Though the Liberals still got the most votes and won the most seats, they lost majority control of the legislature, and the NDP and Green parties have vowed to vote Clark down at the first opportunity.
So what you’re seeing now is a preview of an overhauled Liberal platform for the next election, which Clark clearly hopes will come sooner rather than later. She even held public meetings in Courtenay-Comox on Monday, one of the formerly Liberal ridings she needs to win back.
Meanwhile, the Liberals are still raking those unlimited corporate and lobbyist donations while they can — and refusing to disclose them on their website.
The Liberals made a big deal about their new “real-time disclosure” of campaign cash, arguing it was OK to accept massive donations as long as they told the public as soon as the loot hit the party bank account.
But now the Liberals say they’re “too busy” to disclose the contributions. Why? Probably because they’re grabbing all the cash they can in the hope another election is called quickly.
But I have my doubts voters will warm up to this new kinder-and-gentler Christy Clark. Her personal approval ratings were already falling before the last election. Cynical voters might think she’s willing to say anything at this point to get another chance.
That said, some of the stuff Clark is proposing now is clearly the right thing to do.
Watch for her Liberals to introduce a bill in the legislature to ban ALL corporate and union donations — including unions paying the salaries of NDP campaign staff. To the NDP’s chagrin, Andrew Weaver’s Greens just might support it.
“Why would we not?” Weaver asked.
Why not, indeed. In this wildest political season, it seems just about anything can happen.